Cover Image: American Sweethearts

American Sweethearts

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Member Reviews

I've been a huge fan of Adriana Herrera's books since day one, and I was super excited for American Sweethearts. It did not disappoint! Though there were parts of the 'will they or won't they' that felt repetitive, I still really enjoyed the dynamic between Pris and JuanPa. I would have loved to see more of their conflict because it did feel like a lot of things just got told to us instead of shown, and that's really my only issue with this book. 

Besides that, it was perfectly steamy and romantic, and the HEA felt earned and real. Also, Herrera does a fantastic job depicting the internal struggle of first-generation Americans -- reading about Pris's journey felt like reading about myself at times, and I'm so grateful to see these topics explored in a romance. Overall, I loved this book and was definitely emotional when it was over. Definitely recommend!
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Included in SBTB’s New Releases for March 2020 (Part 2): https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2020/03/marchs-new-releases-part-two/
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This second chance story is my first book from this author. I thought the concept was wonderful, the writing was very authentic and representative of Caribbean American communities. The book also tackled some taboo LGBTQ topics affecting POC. The sexual openness was sizzling and refreshing. However, this book couldn't really be read as a stand-alone story and really feel connected to the characters. The book doesn't really get into their back story except for one chapter in the book so you're left reading through a whole lot of "much has happened between us" but no details. The ending was also very abrupt. The story ends just when I thought they were going to really start exploring some of their past issues and moving into a place of growth, especially for Priscilla. I'm giving this four chilli peppers of hotness. 

I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own. Follow me on Goodreads 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/83500409-bookfiend88
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American Sweethearts is the fourth book in the Dreamers series by Adriana Herrera, and is currently scheduled for release on March 30 2020. I have not read the previous books in the series, but it stood well on its own.

Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist for his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been. Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever. New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second-guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants. What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else. By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach, if they can just accept each other as they are.

American Sweethearts is a wonderful romance. I am not big into second chance stories, it is just not my favorite trope, but this book might have changed my mind. I loved that Juan and Priscilla know each other as well as they do from the start of the story. They come together with good and bad history and are both working hard to get what they need from life. Their love story is as much about coming to terms while what they each really want as it is about making it work together. Their honesty with each other, even when it comes down to knowing when the other is not ready for a conversation was extremely well done, and the open discussions of sex and what they want is something that should be a relationship goal for most couples. Even when things went sideways I could understand both sides, and it was all so real that I was completely lost in the story from page one.  I absolutely loved the cast of secondary characters, they were very well written, and I enjoyed getting a good look at the friendships and family bonds that shaped the characters so much.  I look forward to reading more, in fact I plan on going back to read the first three books in the series as soon as I get a bit further ahead in my reviews, because I have a feeling there will be some binge reading involved. 

American Sweethearts is a fabulous read. Fans of the author will need this book, and newcomers like me might just be adding a new name to their must buy list.
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Rated 3.5 Stars

American Sweethearts was a hot and sexy read. It's a childhood sweethearts and second chance romance that I enjoyed. It was a bit slow in parts but I liked the dynamic between the main characters, Juan Pablo and Priscilla. I loved how caring and attentive Juan Pablo was. However this book just didn't fully work for me but I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
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I really didn't want the Dreamers series to end even though I couldn't wait for Priscilla and Juanpa's book. The chemistry between them was an undercurrent through the previous books and burst to the forefront in American Sweethearts. They, over the past 15 years, had tried to make a relationship work but Juanpa needed to mature more and Priscilla needed to learn to put him on equal standing with her job. American Sweethearts was an excellent reunion story for a couple we'd be rooting for since the beginning.
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After loving the first three books in the Dreamers series, America Sweethearts was my most anticipated release of 2020 and I was really excited when I found out I was getting an eARC of it, so obviously as soon as I got my copy I read it and I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed.

American Sweethearts is part of a series of companion novels, which means that it can be read as a standalone if you don’t mind being spoiled for the previous books. In this book, the story centers around a second chance romance with just one small change because it’s not the second time the main characters – Juan Pablo and Priscilla- give their relationship a try, they actually have a long history of failed relationship attempts. Watching them become closer again, decide to work in their unresolved issues and choose to give their relationship another chance was so beautiful.

I do wish that there was a bit more about their history together in this book, there’s a few flashback but I think it would have been cool to know more as a way to understand their feelings and reservations about their relationship. There was a lot of “we both said things we didn’t mean or thing we regret” in this book, which is really vague. Also, it would have been interesting to know more because early on in the book, it’s clear that after the last failed relationship attempt, Juna Pablo started going to therapy to try to deal with his issues and be better, so when this book starts Juan Pablo is an incredibly swoon-worthy protagonist, who is constantly working on being more open and honest and listening more. Which is amazing, but the problem is that it was hard to appreaciate his character development because it happened before the book started. Also, not knowing more about his history with Priscilla, it was hard to understand why she had so many reservations about their relationship.

But honestly that’s my only really small complain about the book, because everything else was brilliant. I actually spent the whole book fangirling over Juan Pablo. And then there’s Priscilla, who is badass, smart and sassy, but who also lets herself be vulnerable and open when she is with Juan Pablo. I think my favorite part about this book were those moments when Priscilla and Juan Pablo talked about their fears, their dreams, their pasts in a very sincere way, when they were vulnerable with each other and were there when the other needed them.

Despite the main couple being Priscilla and Juan Pablo, American Sweethearts is still very much a queer book. It’s very clear that Juan Pablo has had relationships with men in the past and there are friendly interactions between him and one of his ex’s included in the book. This book is also incredibly sex positive. First of all, the main characters have so much chemistry and there’s enough trust between them to be open about what they want in bed, so the sex scenes are really steamy and there is even a pegging scene, which I had never read in a book before. Second of all, Priscilla actually has a podcast and a blog and she gives workshops about the right of enby folx and black and brown bodies to pleasure and, at one point in the book, she gives a workshop about pleasure after sixty. I think the way this book incorporates discussions about the importance of pleasure for people of different ages, races and gender identities is really important and meaningful.

Lastly, this book has something that I have missed in the last two books in the series and it’s the presence of the group of friends. It was amazing to see them show up in this book trying to push Priscilla and Juan Pablo to be together because they knew that’s whay they wanted but also seeing them be ready to have their backs in case it doesn’t work out (again). Also, their families are very much invested in the relationship and they are rooting for them, especially their moms, which is a bit annoying for them, but it’s actually very fun to read about. The constant presence of their families in the book allows it to explore themes like family and the immigrant experience and its impact on first generation Americans, and like with the previous books in the series, the inclusion of Latinx culture is abundant in this book. Reading about the food, the words, the traditions is wonderful.
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I liked this story a lot.  Juan and Pris have a long history together, and I loved the way their families and friends were such a large part of their lives and stories. I also enjoyed the acknowledgment that sometimes being in love isn't enough to make a relationship work, and the way both Juan and Pris had clearly done a lot of growing up over the years, but that making this apply to their friendship and relationship was a whole other ball game.  I also liked the exploration of the pressures on them as the children of immigrants, and the ways that some of these pressures were self-applied. I thought the dynamics of the big immigrant family and close community was also very well done, and matched my experience (my father's generation had a very similar history and dynamic).
My only complaint would be that it wrapped up rather suddenly at the end. Enough groundwork had been done that I was confident their relationship would last this time around, but it would have been nice to see a little more of this.
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It's my first time reading this author, when I read a "new to me author" I always start with a book that has one of my favorite tropes, in this case is "second chances" so I didn't mind that this is the last book of the saga.

I loved the representation and I think that we need more diverse books but sometimes that's not enough to love a book. 

Don't get me wrong, Priscila and Juanpa were complex characters, and I loved when he used endearment names in spanish, that made me swoon. He was an amazing beta hero, of course he made mistake because he's only human but he always wanted to be a better man for himself and for Priscila. 

What it didn't work for me was the subplot of Priscila's job, because of my beliefs I couldn't relate/agree with her, sorry but for me social justice it's not about sexual pleasure so when the book portrayed her as such a good person and helpful of her community because she talked about sex? Definitely not my cup of tea.

I'm sure that a lot of people would read and love this book and they may even find it empowering. But that's not me.


•••••

Primero quiero escribir un poco en mi idioma porque es con el que me siento más cómoda y más allá de que el libro está escrito en inglés los protagonistas son latinos y se habla de nuestra cultura.

Es el primer libro que leo de la autora, aunque es el cuarto por lo general siempre que leo por primera vez a una autora empiezo por un libro que tenga alguno de mis tropes favoritos, en este caso "second chance romance" (segundas oportunidades).

Por un lado me encantó la representación de la cultura y el romance me pareció tierno, sobre todo cuando Juanpa le decía "mi reina, morocha..." usaba esas palabras de cariño en español y yo me derretía. Que tipo más dulce y bueno, me encantó que fuera honesto y le dijera las cosas como son, más allá de que se equivocó en algunos momentos, se nota que es un buen hombre y siempre quiere lo mejor para Priscila. Un divino total.

Ella también me gustó, aunque a veces tenía algunos arranques que me daban ganas de sacudirla, es una mina decidida y tanto ella como Juanpa son personajes complejos. 

Lo que no funcionó para mí fue toda la subtrama de Priscila y sus sex talks, disculpenme pero para mí la justicia social y el empoderamiento pasa por otro lado más que por el placer sexual. 

Seguro que hay gente que lo va a leer y va a pensar que está buenísimo todo esto pero yo no soy una de esas personas, por cuestiones personales e ideología la verdad que no coincido en nada y cuando la ponían a ella como si fuera una heroína, como que estaba aportando tanto a la comunidad con charlas sobre sexo, disculpenme pero ahí me perdieron.

Seguro piensan que soy una mojigata pero bueno viejo, es mi opinión, yo entiendo a la gente que va a leer esto y le va a parecer super empoderante, buenísimo, pero yo no soy el público al que está dirigido evidentemente.

En fin a mi no me convenció pero más que por la escritura fue por cuestiones personales, cada lector es un mundo si les van los libros cargados de sexo y tienen ganas de algo más diverso lo recomiendo.
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This was off to a bit of a rocky start for me. Especially because the writing style didn't work particularly well for me. But I did end up enjoying this one, although I do think I preferred the previous book in this series.

It took a while for me to start connecting to the main characters, and my favourite parts of the book were the parts where the side characters featured prominently. I felt like they stole the show sometimes. But in the end, I did like these characters, and I thought there was quite a lot of growth in them as people and in their relationship.

I think this book did some really great things though, like having the Latinx main characters visit the Dominican Republic, and showing a main character who has a sex positive sex shop and gives super inclusive workshops to her community.
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book.

DNF @ 30%

This is definitely a "me not you" situation and I 100% recommend checking out other reviews! This is my second attempt reading something by this author now and I've come to the conclusion that their writing just isn't for me, which I'm incredibly sad about because I wanted to love this so much! This is in no way a bad book, it's just not my cup of tea and that's okay! Everyone has different reading tastes and I totally get why people love this series, I think it touches on super important topics and I adore the number of diverse characters.
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Another outstanding Dreamers book!

“Coming together had always been easy. It was staying that way that never seemed to work out for us.” 

Whew, did these two work hard for their HEA. Juan Pablo grew up a ton in the time they were apart. He became someone who shared his feelings easily and actually shut up and listened. Pricilla had to make some major life decisions, one being whether or not she wanted to be with Juanpa again. There was a lot of talking and a ton of fun on the way to their HEA. 

We also got lots of time with all the other couples (the amount of time a character thought or said something like “Milo isn’t the boss of me” cracked me up). It was a wonderful way to close out the series. 

Another highly highly recommended book.
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Anyone who isn't reading Adriana Herrera needs to GET ON IT. This book was so, so great. I am not the child of immigrants but I related so deeply to some of the central questions in this book, which are about navigating the responsibility to honor the sacrifices made by previous generations. Ultimately the book is about remembering how to live for yourself and that happiness will not come until that happens. That we have to tease apart the specifics of family pressures from the underlying desire for stability. Also about how it seems weak to accept help from others, but there is strength in vulnerability.

All this with just a wonderful second chance romance. SO GOOD.
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I received an ARC from Netgalley and I am happy to give my honest review.

I love this series and this author. I was super excited to get this book and pretty much read it in one day. Juan Pablo was such a great character in the other books and I'm glad he got his own book.

Juan Pablo is a reformed player and has done a lot of soul searching/therapy to come to the type of person he wants to be. He is passionate about his friends and family and I loved seeing their relationships. He regrets the way he's treated Priscilla and vows to change so he can be the type of man who deserves her.

Priscilla is an NYPD detective who is unhappy in her job. She doesn't feel like she is making the difference she wants to. She has a side hustle around sex-positive education and sex toys. That was honestly one of my favorite parts of this book. She is amazing and I loved the scene of her teaching 60+ year olds how to have fulfilling sex lives.

Juan Pa and Priscilla were in a serious relationship when they were younger that fizzled out because of her job. They were both going to go into the police academy and he decided to pursue a different career. Their relationship ended but they used each other for sex over the years. The last time Priscilla asked him to stay away because being with him hurt too much. He took it to heart and began working on himself. I loved to see a character in therapy and being self-reflective.

All of this book should have checked my boxes. Second chance romance, sex-positive narrative, mental health, and close-knit friend groups. To be honest, I was a bit bored. The drama and angst were real but I didn't really feel my heartstrings tugged. Priscilla was hardcore and devout in her anger (not unjustly, mind you). I wanted more scenes of them together and much of the book involved their friends or family. It's nice to see those characters again but I wanted to get on with the show instead of spending so much time with them.

In the end, it was a good book and I smiled while finishing it. I liked the two of them together and how Juan Pa supported her in making decisions for her life. The whole book, however, fell a little flat for me. I'm still glad I read it.
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While I was reading American Dreamers and American Love Story I requested and was granted an arc of the final book in the series, American Sweethearts. This is an honest review in exchange for an arc from NetGalley.

Juan Pablo and Priscilla have been on again off again since they were sixteen. Through the Dreamers series they have been off. It’s painful to both of them the way they love each other but can’t live with each other. The second chance at romance is a well loved trope. What Herrera is interested in exploring is not a fated mates situation, but the hard work that goes into changing toxic patterns. Before the book opens, Herrera send Juan Pa to therapy.

After that last time, I told Juan Pablo he needed to grow up and leave me alone. I’d been angry and frustrated, but before he walked out of my apartment he’d looked me straight in the eyes and said, I will. After that, it had been radio silence. No, “You up?” texts in the middle of the night, nothing. He’d stayed away like he said he would, like I’d asked him to.

JuanPa has gone to therapy and is working on changing the way he engages with Priscilla, starting by not engaging with Priscilla until she invites him to. Priscilla doesn’t entirely know how to react. Changing the dance steps of an established relationship is hard and while JuanPa has worked on a lot in therapy, the two of them still make missteps and have to navigate baggage. Neither wants to start again if they aren’t going to make it.

Herrera does such a beautiful job of showing the web of connections between them and the way those connections make it easy to fall back into each other, but also how they hinder them growing together. Like the other books in the series, American Sweethearts is loaded with social justice and high on the heat index. It’s a lovely last book in an incredibly strong debut series.
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I am an Adriana Herrera fan for life! I don't care what she writes next, I'm buying it! Her ability to root you in her characters' world and life in such a vibrant way is one of the many reasons, her books are so popular. AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS not only delivers on the Happily Ever After promise, it vividly shows what life is like for Latinx and POC in America. The fact that the main characters find love and happiness despite the challenges and obstacles life puts in the way, is the delicious icing on this beautifully crafted cake.
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This is the fourth book in Herrera’s American Dreamer series, and the only m/f romance of them - I was looking forward to it because I love this series, but I didn’t feel like I really knew Priscilla and Juan Pablo very well and honestly, I was nervous I wouldn’t like it as much as I did the others. 

So here’s the biggest lesson I took away from this book: never doubt the writing of Adriana Herrera. (See also: we are not worthy). This one might now be my favorite in the series! 

Priscilla and Juan Pablo (or Pris and J as they call each other), have been friends forever, and even on-again/off-again lovers. Things did not end well last time they were “off again,” and at the start of the book they are headed to the Dominican Republic for the wedding of Milo and Tom (from book two!), and Pris and J haven’t seen each other in about a year. 

One of the things I appreciated the most about this book is how hard the characters worked at their relationship because of how long they’ve known each other. They want to be in each others’ lives and they are not willing to settle for just falling into a friends-with-benefits situation again. For instance, J now goes to therapy and Pris can see the changes in him - how he handles arguments and is more willing to communicate better - they both had their own issues to work through but nothing was glossed over or given a quick/easy fix in the story.  

I loved so much about this book - the quick banter, the conversations about race and sexuality, the scheming mamas of J and Pris, the friends who tried to push them together but also had their backs when they needed them, and as always, holy steamy sex scenes. Have I mentioned that Adriana Herrera can WRITE?! 

I finished this book less than an hour ago and knew I wanted to write the review immediately. It comes out March 30th so if you haven’t read the first three you have until then to do so!
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Adriana Herrera is one of the best and sharpest storytellers in contemporary romance, and AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS is another homerun for this Carina author. The first m/f and final novel in the series, the story of JuanPa and Pris longtime love/hate relationship is a perfect cap on a lovely series. I can't wait to see where Herrera takes us next.
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This is a second-chance/childhood sweethearts story finishing off Adriana Herrera's Dreamers series. I love the closeness of the main friend group and the people that are brought into it (the parents, the other friends, the love interests)--that warmth and love they all have for each other is so real and genuine. I like Juan Pa and his reformed fuckboi-ness and I like Priscilla's duality of toughness and softness, and the two of them together are fire. The thing with a second-chance romance or a childhood sweetheart romance, though, is that there are so many years of history that aren't available to us on the page but need to be conveyed, and I felt a lot of that was simply told to us rather than shown -- there are brief flashbacks and allusions to previous events but we don't see them enough in depth of how these moments deeply affect them. (That said, I've only read the first of the series, so I may have been missing some context for the relationship in books 2 and 3.) I also thought that while their sorting out how they could come back to each other after all their history was well. done, the secondary storyline of Priscilla's career wasn't balanced with anything on Juan Pa's side so the story was more weighted towards her (with his support and encouragement). But the sex positivity in the book is fantastic, in Juan Pablo and Priscilla's relationship and in Priscilla's side hustle and the mission behind it. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Carina Press for the ARC.
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Mutual pining and a legacy of failed relationship attempts don't stop the sparks flying between two former best friends and lovers who reconnect at the destination wedding of their mutual friends. But can Pris, a NYC detective growing weary of her job, and JuanPa, a physical therapist for the NY Yankees, get over their past to have a future together?

Herrera closes out her Dreamers series with a delicious second-chance romance that reconnects fans with the other beloved couples and closes out with a hard won and well deserved HEA for our jaded couple who both are absolutely gone for each other. As always Herrera deftly weaves social justice, therapy, and culture into her characters' lives without ever losing track of the heart and soul of the romance. And oh the heat. It is real good.

Come for the romance, stay for the seniors learning about b*tt play.

CW for discussion of sexual abuse of a minor - it is a case Priscilla is working on as a NYC detective. All discussion is based on the facts of the case.
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